X-23: Target X #2

Issue Date: 
February 2007
Story Title: 
X-23: Target X – Part Two

Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost (writers), Mike Choi & Sonia Oback (artists), Troy Peteri (letterer), Brad Johansen (production), Michael O’Connor & Daniel Ketchum (assistant editors), Axel Alonso (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Captain America and Daredevil continue to interrogate X-23. Cap relates that he was too late to stop the assassination of candidate Johnson and found only one survivor amidst the carnage, a young girl. He failed to think that perhaps she was the killer and as a result, X-23 escaped. Cap holds himself responsible for all those she’s killed since. X-23 explains how she moved in with her aunt and cousin and developed a close bond with her cousin Megan. Megan is relieved that someone believes her story of being kidnapped and Laura opens up about her past and the terrible things she was forced to do. After X-23’s lack of social graces gets them suspended, the girls play hook and cement their friendship. This proves to be a breakthrough for Megan and enables her to begin rebuilding her relationship with her mother. But their happiness is bound to be short-lived. Laura’s aunt Debbie’s boyfriend Desmond turns out to be an agent of the Facility and they’ve sent him a sample of the trigger scent used to initiate a berserker rage in X-23!

Full Summary: 

Captain America hands Matt Murdock the report on the assassination of presidential candidate Greg Johnson. It details the precise and professional manner in which each victim was killed, twenty-seven in all including Johnson’s teenaged sons. Stunned by the gruesome thoroughness of the entire operation, Murdock asks why. Wide-eyed but far from innocent, X-23 answers “It was my mission”.
Four years earlier…

Captain America arrives with a squad of SHIELD agents after receiving a tip about an assassination attempt on presidential candidate Greg Johnson. Cap leads the squad into action after shots are fired with SHIELD director Nick Fury advising via comlink. Fury is insistent that they catch the would-be assassin. As Cap makes it to the room where Johnson is, agents greet him with grim news: Johnson and his entire family and campaign entourage are dead. Cap enters the room to see the eviscerated bodies of the slain.
As he surveys the carnage, Cap hears a whimper. He scrambles through the corpses until he finds the body of a young girl with leg braces. She asks him to please help her. As he carries the girl to safety, he fails to even consider that she might be the assassin. He also overlooks a camera on the ground that captured an image of the girl slaying Johnson. Cap gets the girl to an ambulance and assures her that she’ll be okay.
A SHIELD agent approaches and reports that an EMP took at surveillance before the hit but that the building is locked down and no one has left since then. Cap thinks to ask the sole survivor what she may have seen and looks over at the ambulance. When he sees blood dripping from inside the vehicle, he immediately realizes that the girl was the killer and he had let her get away.
In the interrogation room, Cap confesses his role in this situation to Matt Murdock who recognizes that Cap feels personally responsible. Cap tells Matt that he holds himself personally responsible for every single life that X-23 has taken since that day. Murdock tries to tell Cap that his personal investment is too great but the Star-Spangled Avenger insists that they continue.
He asks X-23 what happened in San Francisco with Megan after she verified the girl’s claim of being abducted. X-23 tells them that Megan wanted her to tell her mother that it was all true.
One year earlier…

Megan demands that Laura tell her mother and Desmond the truth about her being kidnapped. Laura acts as if she has no idea what Megan is referring to. Desperate, Megan begs Laura to tell them how she killed the man who took her, that he was real. Debbie pleads with Megan to calm down, while Megan begs X-23 to tell them that she’s not crazy. Megan runs away, upset by Laura’s refusal to talk. Debbie is concerned about Megan but Desmond blows it off as just another tantrum. Debbie begins to explain to Laura but can’t. Instead, she takes her upstairs to get her settled in. She tells her she can borrow some of Megan’s clothes until they can get her some of her own. Laura is pleased when she sees the wilder fashions that Megan insists on wearing.
The next day Laura is ready for school, dressed in a racy outfit from Megan’s closet. Her Aunt Debbie asks if she’s sure she wants to wear that and Laura assures her that she is. Debbie says they’ll figure out someway to get her enrolled in school and asks awkwardly if she has a birth certificate. Laura tells her that she has seven of them as she identifies Megan’s scent. She tells her aunt that she knows the way to school and can find her own way. Debbie tries to insist but X-23 merely thanks her and takes off after Megan.
She finds her cousin alone on a pier. Megan has been crying and asks why X-23 didn’t tell them the truth. X-23 explains that when she saw Megan’s drawings she assumed Megan remembered everything. Had she realized that she only had vague recollections, she wouldn’t have confirmed the veracity of them. She tells Megan that she is safer not knowing the full truth as those who made her might come looking for her. Megan is surprised to hear this and asks Laura what she is.
In response, Laura pops her claws causing Megan to gasp. She tells Megan that if anyone knew she was there they would kill Megan and her mother to get to her, so no one must know. Megan agrees as Laura sheathes her claws. She tells Megan that they should get to school as she doesn’t like to be late.
As they arrive at school, Megan is enthusiastically asking for details about X-23’s claws. As they make their way down the hall, they are taunted by jeers. Terms like “freaks”, “Goths” and “Sluts” are bandied about. A pair of jocks stops Megan and teases her about her new ‘friend’. When a young boy named Henessey grabs Megan’s arm, X-23 tells him fiercely to let her go. He asks if she’s going to hurt him if he doesn’t and she answers yes. Megan pulls Laura away as the jock notes that she’s kind of hot for a freak.
In French class, the teacher notes the arrival of his new pupil and asks in French if she has any familiarity with the Romance languages. X-23 answers “oui” and he snottily asks if she can say more than “yes”. Laura rises and in perfect French gives him a lengthy and detailed explanation of how to bribe and torture international peace officers while obtaining information. This lands Laura and Megan in the principal’s office.
At lunch, Megan tells Laura that until she came along no one believed her about being abducted and thought she made it up to get attention. Even her mother thought she was crazy. Laura tells her that she doesn’t think she’s crazy at all. Megan tells Laura that she’s her only friend.
Later in biology class, Laura corrects the teacher when he gives incorrect information about the amount of blood in the human body. He chides her for interrupting his lesson and asks if she has any other trivia about the human body to share. She stands and shares with the class details on the most effective way to kill a person without leaving a trace. This leads to a second trip to the principal’s office for her and Megan.
The principal unleashes a tirade on the two girls about the topics that X-23 has brought up in class and the disruption they’ve caused. She assures the girls that they are nothing special and undeserving of the attention they are clearly seeking. She shouts at them and asks if they are even listening. Laura rises and shouts back at the principal, reiterating word for word everything she has said since they entered the office to prove that she was listening. This gets both girls suspended.
As they leave the school, Megan is amazed at what Laura did and comments on how her mom is going to kill her. X-23 asks what sort of training her mother has. Megan says off-hand that she wishes they could just run away and Laura agrees. Megan notes that they don’t have a car as Laura eyes the principal’s convertible. Moments later, the girls are joy-riding throughout San Francisco.
They spend the day exploring the city, enjoying a museum, a movie, shopping and even drive out to a nearby amusement park. Laura provides cash to buy jewelry at Tiffany’s after which the girls take in a Dazzler concert! They stay out all night and watch the sun rise at Fisherman’s Wharf. Laura tells Megan about her life and confesses that she was forced by those who made her to kill her mother. She explains that her creators made a scent that triggers a blackout and when she wakes up, everyone around her is dead. Megan tells her that she’s sorry and Laura tells her that she is too.
When the girls return home, Debbie is furious having spent the whole night trying to find them. Megan stops her mother and tells her that she’s sorry… for everything. Debbie hugs her daughter and Megan promises that things are going to be better now.
The present:

In the interrogation room, Captain America guesses that things didn’t end up being better and X-23 confirms this. She explains that she followed the proper protocols and was careful but that they had already found her and were going to make her kill Megan. She didn’t even realize it.
As Megan and her mother were patching things up, Debbie’s boyfriend Desmond drove to a desolated part of the city where a man gave him an envelope and told him to call in. He reports that he almost lost her and that he can’t take X-23 down on his own. He opens the envelope and inside is a vial marked “TRIGGER”.

Characters Involved: 

X-23/”Laura Kinney”
Captain America

Matt Murdock/Daredevil
SHIELD agents

heard via comlink:

Nick Fury

in the past:

X-23/”Laura Kinney”
Debbie Kinney, Sarah Kinney’s sister

Megan, Sarah Kinney’s niece
Desmond, Debbie’s boyfriend
Presidential candidate Greg Johnson, his wife and their sons, Mark and Brad and others slain by X-23
Unnamed emergency crews
Students and staff at Abraham Lincoln High School including Henessey, the principal Mrs. McCracken
Various people throughout San Francisco

Story Notes: 

The full story of X-23’s creation, upbringing and earliest missions were all depicted in the X-23 Limited Series. Presidential candidate Greg Johnson’s assassination was featured in X-23 Limited Series #3.
Kimura did not appear in the original X-23 Limited Series. She made her first appearance in NEW X-MEN #31.

Matthew Murdock is a lawyer as well as the masked vigilante known as Daredevil. His enhanced senses allow him to detect when others are lying which is how he knows that Laura is telling the truth when she says that she is no X-23. The interrogation scenes clearly take place before events of DAREDEVIL #80 which marked the beginning of Matt Murdock’s recent incarceration.

X-23 and Megan attend Abraham Lincoln High School, an actual public high school located in San Francisco. A visit to the school’s website makes it clear that the series’ artists used photo references to accurately depict the school’s interiors and exteriors.

During their jaunt around San Francisco, Laura and Megan visit a number of locales all of which actually exist with the exception of Chauncey’s Pet Store. Six Flags Marine World is located in Vallejo, CA about 31 miles northeast of San Francisco.

One of the theater-goers is wearing a sweatshirt with the logo from the short-lived TV series “Firefly” which was created by current ASTONISHING X-MEN scribe Joss Whedon. Whedon is best known for his work on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.

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